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Advice for hoof care during this long, wet, muddy winter!

This year, I put one of my horses on 24/7 field board. His feet have always pretty solid and problem free; he is a little bit thin-soled, but that generally only shows up on very rocky ground.

Now that this winter has set in, he’s spending all of his time in snow, ice, and on the occasional warm day, mud. Since the big freeze has set in, I generally only get out to see him on the weekends. This weekend I was looking at his feet and finding myself horrified - his hind feet look awful (he’s shod up front). His heels and frogs are soft and spongy. The central groove is overly deep, his hoof bulbs are approaching squishy, and the structure of his frogs overall is sort of chopped up. I can’t quite tell, but it looks like he may have blown an abscess at one of his coronary bands (could also just be a scrape - hard to tell). I know this “breakdown” is because of all of the moisture he’s currently in. There is a run-in shed in his field, but he and his mates don’t spend much time in there, and even if he did, it’s pretty much like the rest of the field - wet, muddy, or frozen right now also. Coming indoors isn’t an option.

When I bring him in for grooming, I usually apply Farrier Barrier to his hooves, but I’m not sure if this is the best solution at this time. For those of you with horses on 24/7 turnout during this winter, what are you using to keep your horse’s feet from succumbing to this weather? (I’ve got availability to just about every potion out there - Kopertox, Keratex gel & hardener, Durasole, venice turpentine, floor wax, Today/Tomorrow…you name it, I’ve got it.) If one of these is better than what I’m using right now, can be used on waterlogged hooves, and will help his feet survive better this winter, please speak up!

Farrier is coming in a week and I’ll talk to him about the best solution, but any words of wisdom you might have, I’m all ears.

Both of my Tb mares live out 24/7. Older mare wears shoes on all 4’s. I have been bringing them in about two times per week( due to weather) and grooming, picking feet. I’ll put one in a stall while I work on the other one and kind of let their feet dry off a bit. For my older mare, once her feet have dried off a bit, she gets a product called Wunder hoof cream rubbed into her coronet bands of all 4 feet. It is supposed to stimulate hoof growth. She had a bout with white line disease last summer and am trying to do everything possible to improve hoof health. She has a crack on the front of each hoof and she gets Thrush Buster there to keep out fungus. Then I paint all of her feet with Kevlar Tuff Stuff. Her feet look pretty decent considering the weather. Younger mare has front shoes and I just pick her feet and paint with Kevlar Tuff Stuff. Her feet also don’t look too bad. They do occasionally go into the run in shed, but prefer to hang out by the round bale most of the time.

Thanks Simbalism - I’ll check into the Kevlar Tuff Stuff!

My mare is shod on all four, and for whatever reason, other than the occasional thrush, and once in a great while an abscess, her hooves stay pretty good. She is outside most of the time, but when it’s really muddy one of the best things I can do for her is bring her in and toss her in a clean stall for a while. The shavings will soak up some of the wet, and hooves will dry out nicely. She has a lovely shed that is matted and bedded with shavings, but she’d often rather stand in the mud… One thing NOT to do (IMO) is rinse off muddy lower legs and hooves with water. You really need to get the horse into a dry environment and let the mud dry enough that you can pick it off.


One hint I got from a farrier was to put your choice of thrush medication (purple stuff, Coppertox etc) on the nail holes. He said the nail holes are the biggest point of weakness in the hoof and allowing the thrush/hardening meds to soak in via that entry point can really help keep shoes on.

I have followed this any time it is really wet and seen some real success.